Dirty, sexy, grammar – apostrophe

by Julie Frayn on February 5, 2012 in  Dirty, Sexy, Grammar

What could be sexy about a little flick of the pencil? Well, two things.

She sounds like the baby sister of the goddess of love, Aphrodite. I dub Apostrophe the goddess of punctuation.

If that’s not enough to make her sexy, this little chick is badass. She is the tiny arc of controversy, sparking debate and discussion, and in some instances near fisticuffs, over the very need for her existence. Okay, I’m the only one throwing punches.

Ill put in my two cents worth and say Id be ill if she disappeared from use. Hmmm, that was a bit hard to read. If only there was a punctuation mark I could have used to make that sentence clearer. Oh yes! Apostrophe!

The hullabaloo must stem from the low self-esteem of the other punctuation marks. They’re just jealous. Apostrophe cuts a mean silhouette. Slim and sleek, she personifies understated elegance. She isn’t bloated like the period, or too tall like the exclamation point – not bent and hunched over like the Igor-esque question mark. Long live Apostrophe!

What can this beauty do?

She can show singular possession: Whose extra large glass of red wine is that? It is Julie’s glass. Hands off.

She can show plural possession:

For a plural noun that ends in s: The Smiths’ cat crapped in my flowerbed.

For a plural noun that does not end in s: The children’s school called, they skipped class again.

She fills in the blanks, replacing missing letters in contractions: It’s easy to see I can’t live without apostrophe.

Here are two example of apostrophe abuse:

You shouldn’t need her to form plurals: Music from the 1970s and 1980s still rocks my world, no ifs, ands or buts.

She shouldn’t appear in a possessive pronoun: Those fries aren’t yours, they’re ours. Well, mine. Hands off.

Clearly we need our dear apostrophe, and apostrophe needs your support. Lend a helping pencil and go flick, yourself.

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Sean Farley February 6, 2012 at 5:46 pm

We DO need her!! And we mustn’t forget Apostrophe’s cousin, Comma. Equally slim and sleek, though a little more gritty. One of the best examples I’ve ever seen is a photo of a sweet, elderly woman with the caption: Grammar Saved Grandma’s Life.

“Let’s eat grandma!!!” as opposed to

“Let’s eat, grandma!!”

Gotta love it.

Reply

Julie February 6, 2012 at 9:15 pm

Haha, yes. The old eats shoots and leaves kind of illustration :). Going to do a few of these dirty, sexy, grammar posts. Comma wasn’t on the list, so I’ll have to find something sexy (or dirty) about him!

Mitch February 7, 2012 at 9:40 am

Good one Jules! And thanks for the reminder – although I like to think I’ve got my punctuation in order, I am guilty of writing 70’s, 80’s, etc. Now, could you please blog about the misuse of the word “of”. Specifically, using it as such – “could of gone to the show”. That drives me crazy!

Reply

Julie February 7, 2012 at 1:01 pm

I will add that to the list! Another of my pet peeves is “I could care less.” Um, couldn’t? :)

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